Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
Heereskleiderkasse May 1939
Available from Andreas Stanik
RRP Euro 8 + Euro 4 for postage & packaging

To place this catalogue / booklet into its true context one firstly needs to understand the Kleiderkasse System. It is a requirement in many western armies that officers provide their own uniform and it was so with the German Wehrmacht during World War 2. Germany realised that this placed a huge financial drain on (especially young) officers and that private purchase items were prohibitively expensive.

As a result of this the Army introduced the [Heeres] Offizier Kleiderkasse. This was in effect an [Army] Officers’ Clothing Sales System. It was a non-profit making body run by a civilian director. It established a system of financial accounts for each and every officer or official with officer status. It did this by a mandatory monthly salary deduction with prescribed amounts depending upon rank. These funds were then deposited into personal and named Kleiderkasse accounts. In addition, the military services occasionally added a special sum as a clothing allowance to the officers’ pay. Over time the deposit balances grew and were managed by the Kleiderkasse on behalf of each and every member (officer).

This system enabled German officers to build up the financial resources required to purchase their uniforms and headgear. The Kleiderkasse published a catalogue offering a large assortment of uniform items (such as caps, complete uniforms, insignia, tress, shoulder boards and uncut fabrics etc.) and their prices were lower than those on the commercial market.

This is an example (re-print) of the Kleiderkasse Catalogue for May 1939. It is in German so knowledge of this language helps. There are a number of images which depict various uniform items and their prices. For example it gives the various prices for the Iron Cross (both classes), army daggers, spurs and other equipment for mounted officers etc.

The catalogue gives an insight into the prices of uniform items just before the outbreak of the War. It is a handy catalogue and it is of greater use as the reader’s language skills improve. Regardless it still has its uses even for a non-German speaker.

February 2014